Grouses over limited domain heeded

DCM assures Sarawak govt is heeding calls for lifting or extension of native territorial domain limitation

Uggah explaining the Land Code to reporters during his press conference at the media room on the third day of the State Legislative Assembly meeting yesterday. With him are Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau (on his right) and Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu (on his left). Seen standing from left are Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh, Bukit Goram assemblyman Jefferson Jamit Unyat, Machan assemblyman Allen Siden Gramong and Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will heed calls for the lifting or extension of the size limitation of 500 hectares on the native territorial domain before the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 is read for the third time and passed today .

This assurance was given by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at a packed news conference at the media centre after the morning session adjourned.

Uggah who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said he will deliberate the matter with the Chief Minister after tabling the Bill yesterday.

“I will discuss with the Chief Minister. We are listening to reasonable proposals.”

Uggah said he is aware that some native territorial domains are bigger than 500 hectares and cited as examples those in Ulu Rajang and Ulu Baram which cover more than 500 hectares.

“Now we fix it at maximum of 500 hectares. But we are listening. Chief Minister is listening to the people.”

Uggah pointed out that what the amendment offers “is over and above the NCR land” unlike that had been claimed by certain quarters.

“With this amendment, the natives of Sarawak will not lose their land,” he said.

Earlier when reading the Bill, Uggah described the amendment as a landmark decision that enable native communal title to be issued in perpetuity.

He pointed out that in countries where indigenous communities exist, their government will only give them usufructuary rights to the land traditionally occupied by them but in Sarawak, under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, territorial domain is to be given the force of law and legally recognised as having a proprietary right.

“Document of title will be issued to the community concerned to protect their territorial domain.”

During the session, 13 members from the ruling coalition and one member from the opposition bench debated the Bill.

Almost all of them requested the Sarawak government to have the size limitation extended to better protect the land rights of the natives in Sarawak.

The only opposition member who debated in the morning was Chiew Chiu Sing (DAP-Tanjong Batu) while the rest were Gerald Rentap Jabu (PBB-Layar), Dennis Ngau (PBB-Telang Usan), Christopher Gira (PBB-Tamin), Yussibnosh Balo (PBB-Tellian), Razaili Gapor (PBB-Beting Maro), Dr Johnichal Rayong Ngipa (UPP-Engkilili), Chukpai Ugon (PRS-Murum), Dato Idris Buang (PBB-Muara Tuang), Martin Ben (PBB-Beting Maro), Aidel Lariwoo (PBB-Sadong Jaya), John Ilus (PBB-Bukit Semuja), Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman (PBB-Tupong) and Jefferson Jamit Unyat (PBB-Bukit Goram).

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